Cable, ISPs Lagging In Customer Survey


Operators that provide video and Internet connectivity services did not fare well in Forrester Research's Customer Experience Index. While retailers were highly ranked by consumers for ease of use, cable and Internet providers were among the bottom dwellers in the 114-company list, which included several business sectors.

One Internet provider, Charter Communications, was ranked 114 on that list. It was slightly better, ranked 111, as a video provider.

The results were generated by a sample of approximately 5,000 consumers, who were asked to name the retailers, banks, insurance companies, airlines and telecommunications providers they patronize. The consumers were asked three simple questions about their recent interactions with those companies: how effective are they at meeting your needs? How easy are they to use? How enjoyable was the interaction?

Respondents could use a five-point scale, ranging from very poor to excellent. Survey results were released Dec. 12.

Based on responses, among Internet providers, the survey ranked America Online, ATT/SBC/Yahoo!, Bell South, Cox Communications, MSN, Qwest Communications, Charter Communications, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and “other.” Video providers included Bright House Networks, Charter, Comcast, Cox, DirecTV, Dish Network, Time Warner Cable and “other.”

Charter was at the bottom of the list, both as a video and ISP provider, as was Comcast. Time Warner Cable was in the bottom 10 as a video provider, according to Forrester.

Charter spokeswoman Anita Lamont said the company's own surveys indicate customers are benefiting from actions taken to improve the customer experience.

“We recognize that it takes time for improvements to resonate with customers and are committed to continuously refining and bettering the process,” Lamont said. “We believe that by doing what it takes to take care of our customers, Charter will positively affect our customers' experience with us and over time, the change will be reflected in their perception of us. We're not where we strive to be and our goal is to earn the respect and confidence of our customers through our actions.”

Other operators are working to improve their perceptions, too. With the assistance of J.D. Power & Associates, Comcast has conducted meetings with customers who've had recent interactions with the telecommunications company to learn how to better satisfy customers.

The best ranked ISPs on the list were AOL, which tied with ATT/SBC/Yahoo! at 51 on the list. Bright House Networks was the highest ranked cable company, coming in at 78. By comparison, the best ranked company in all the categories was bookseller Barnes & Noble, which achieved the ranking with highest marks for enjoyability.

The telecommunications providers were among companies who saw their scores drop most precipitously since a 2007 survey. Time Warner Cable's scores slipped by 18%, while its Internet service slipped 13%. Charter's ISP score slipped 16%, while Comcast dipped by 12% as a TV provider and 10% as an ISP. Satellite-TV providers' customer satisfaction perception rates dropped, too, but only by 6% for both DirecTV and Dish. Cox' ranking only slipped 2%.